This is either a foyer or a section of the living room inside Marilyn Monroe’s home, the only place she ever owned, at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive in Brentwood. It was taken the morning of 8.5.62, a few hours after she’d been found dead.

The heritage of the home was classic Mexican adobe (overhead beams, classic brick patio), and she had bought a few pieces of Mexican-made furniture earlier that year when she visited Mexico City. On or about 3.1.62 she dropped by the set of Luis Bunuel‘s The Exterminating Angel, which was finishing shooting at Churubusco Studios. It played in Cannes less than three months later.

A copy of the N.Y. Times sits on the peasant bench, along with two coffee-table books (Mexico + the paintings of Pierre-Auguste Renoir).

What gets me is the dinky little portable stereo. You’d think she would’ve placed it atop a wooden table of some kind, but no — on the floor! The same kind of cheap-ass stereo player that kids fresh out of college put on their bedroom floors in the ’60s. Monroe either forgot to buy a table or thought the stereo sounded better on the carpeted floor, transmitting the vibes to the floorboards or something. Monroe wasn’t rich when she died. It’s so touching to imagine her deciding to go with an inexpensive college-dorm stereo rather than the swanky kind that, say, Frank Sinatra or JFK would’ve owned.

Here are some cheap retro record players.

This is the Marilyn Monroe I’ve always had in my head, as opposed to the bruised, traumatized, exaggerated victim in Blonde. A neurotic smarty who cared about culture, world events, good music, etc. I wonder what she listened to during dinner hour? Did she ever wander around Paris or Rome?